GLENDALE, Ariz. -- John Danks gave up two home runs in five innings during Friday's 8-4 loss to the Cubs before a Cactus League record crowd of 13,413 at Camelback Ranch. Friday wasn't really about the results, but more about the work for the left-hander, who didn't exactly follow a regular-season strategy during a Marlon Byrd at-bat leading off the fourth, as an example, which resulted in a home run. "I threw five straight curveballs to Marlon Byrd and four straight changeups to [Alfonso] Soriano [resulting in a second-inning single]," Danks said. "We're trying to throw the pitches we need to throw to get ready for the season -- while competing, while trying to get outs. But I would have done things differently.
"Curveballs and changeups," added Danks, when asked what he was working on. "Changeup was hard, and it was up. I was having a tough time throwing it where I wanted to. It was a little harder than I wanted it to be, especially the last innings when we were working on curveballs and changeups." Stretching out Friday's outing also was important to Danks, who hopes to get to 100 pitches in his next start on Wednesday against the D-backs. He hopes to have better results when facing Arizona, but feeling good and getting ready are more crucial to Danks than Cactus League home runs. "First and foremost, we did get our work in," said Danks, who fanned four and walked just one. "We got the amount of pitches we wanted to get. ... It wasn't fun to give it up. We worked on some things we wanted to work on, and hopefully we'll have better results next time. "I'm feeling better every time out. I'm able to go out there five times today. I think that helps. We're getting up where we want to be. I think we counted up three more spring starts. Like I said, I hope we turn this around and begin the season on a high note."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.